Tag Archives: experience

Walking The Walk As A Role Model

Actions scream louder than words.

So clichéd, but so very true.

You can tell your little dudes all day to be honest and always tell the truth. However, when they see you lie your way out of a speeding ticket, or tell your boss you won’t be coming in that day because you’re *cough* not feeling good, they will learn from your actions and not your lectures.

You, all right? I learned it by watching you.

As goofy as that PSA is (and, really, can we take anything seriously when there’s that sort of mustache in frame and it’s not being mocked mercilessly?*), there is a good point buried beneath the moralizing and hippie-hate.

In fact, let’s add on another couple of clichés that might have something to say about the matter: Seeing is believing. Monkey see, monkey do. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Young dudes and dudettes are sponges, by which I mean that they soak up the world around them, internalize what they experience and then squeeze it back out into the world through their own nascent personalities. Not that they’re yellow, with holes in them and live in a pineapple under the sea. Although I would have thought that would be self-evident.

Moving on.

Once they get past toddlerhood, most young dudes and dudettes experience their parents’ words in much the same way that we experience the words of an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

“Waaah, wah-wah waaahh wah-wah wah wah.”

It has about all the semantic content of a bag of broken bricks.

But those eyes. . . Those eyes see everything.** Those ears hear everything.°

And we all know from experience (The one time you say the unmodified frak in front of your young dude, it’s what he’s going to remember and repeat. Again and again. In front of your in-laws.), that they will catch you in a contradiction. There’s no question about it. Do what you warned them not to do and they will call you on it.

Personally, I find the old excuse that we’re allowed to do (whatever it is) because we’re adults to be somewhat lacking in conviction. Lying — for the most part — is wrong no matter the age. It’s only as we get older that we begin to justify as a social necessity the idea of shading the truth.

I mention all this because, right now, I’m having a hard time showing my young dudes the right way to attack life and I fully understand the consequences of blowing this one.

Footnotes & Errata

* No. No, we can’t. That is a seriously scary mustache.
** Except the pile of freshly laundered, dried and folded clothing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for them to take up and put away.
° Except our voices when we’re asking them to take out the trash, or clean up their room, or to clean out the food mouldering under their bed.

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Creative Endeavor

Get your eyeballs away from the TV and go do something.

If you’re one of the dudes who follows the @dudesguide Twitter feed, then you know I’ve been a bit busy in the last couple of weeks. Well, a bit busy might be underselling the whole thing.

Over the course of two weeks, I managed to write a little more than 80,000 words, creating a long-thought-about young adult book. It’s a really fun idea, but you’ll have to trust me on this one as I’m trying to get it represented by an agent so I can sell it to a publisher and I wouldn’t want anyone to look at the idea and then do it better.

Not that I think you would do that, but, you know, that guy. Yeah, him.

Moving on.

It’s been an amazingly satisfying experience. I don’t know what happened or why it kicked off like it did, but I found myself sitting down at the computer, turning on some tunes for the background and then typing. I would literally look up three hours later (or more depending on the day) and find that I’d written five thousand (or whatever) words and didn’t remember anything else but the story happening for the past three hours.

It felt as if a mere tick of the old-timey analog clock second hand hadPoor goldfish. All for an idea bout colored shoelaces that no one will actually care about. passed, and, yet, it was three hours gone down the memory hole. Three hours and I’d produced another significant chunk of a world that only I knew, but that needed to be shared.

Now, I’m not saying that what I wrote is deathless prose or that it will change the lives of anyone who reads it (although I wouldn’t be against that happening, you know?), but this is something that, before three weeks ago, existed only as a notion in my diseased brain.

And now it’s a thing. I’m in the process of showing it to some friends who are going to read it and then give me some insight on if it’s any good or what I should change.

It’s not like a book I can hold in my hands, but it is something I created by myself. I brought this into reality by conscious effort and directed intention. It is a wonderful, amazing feeling that more people should try to achieve.

Again, no. I’m not suggesting you all take up writing. Frankly, I don’t need the competition. But I do suggest you find something you like, something you can learn about, and then do it.

Create. Discover. Give birth to your ideas using your hands and your will. Feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from creation. Smile the smile of the dude who has done, and is getting ready to do again and again.

Stretch yourself. Find something that’s just a bit more complex than you’ve done before and then learn how to do it. Then do it. Improve your skills in whatever you choose, then follow your plans through to completion.

Dudes, there is nothing like creation. It is an unmatched feeling and it can be yours. Whenever you decide it’s time for you to get it.

So go get it.

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Is There Such A Thing As A Good Selfie?

Short answer: no.

Okay, you dudes can go now.

Or not. Depends on what you want to hear.

The long answer? All right, then.

Since the Oxford Dictionary announced the selfie as word of the year for 2013, there’s been renewed interest in something that we had all but extinguished. Sadly, this comeback has not made them better. However, there are steps you can take to make your appalling selfie into one that doesn’t make old men retch and young girls run screaming into their rooms to cry softly into their pillows and stuffed bears.

Taken from the readwrite.com site, here are some basic steps for taking a selfie that doesn’t flat-out suck.

To start with, get rid of the fat arms.selfie-ad-2

If you’re a frequent selfie photographer, the right apps and accessories can make the task easier, while also banishing extended “fat arm” syndrome. Plenty of camera apps feature self-timers (like this and this), and accessory makers offer wireless shutters that let you shoot remotely away from your device

Now, admittedly, the makers of this photograph won a CLIO, an advertising award for it, but it is the exception that proves the rule. Having huge, extended, fat arms like that rarely works to showcase how desirable you are, only that you have deformed arms.

Make sure that you showcase your jawline in a good way, not let it disappear into a second chin that isn’t actually there.

When people hold their cameras up for a selfie, some unconsciously cast their heads back. But by doing that, the chin and jawline practically disappears—in some cases, it can even create or emphasize a double chin. 

The best thing you can do is to stretch your head forward toward the camera to create a more flattering angle. Not too much, because then your neck gets a bit strange looking, but enough to stretch out the skin under your jaw. Heck, this is a good idea for any photograph in which you’re going to show up.

Remember Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards? How she stuck her tongue out almost every chance she got? Remember? Good. Now forget her. That pose just doesn’t work. It didn’t work for Miley and she, for some reason, is a famous person who has had experience in posing in front of the camera.

So what hope is there for the rest of us? The short answer: There isn’t any. (Really, the only one who can pull this off is Kiss’ Gene Simmons, who has been doing it since before Billy Ray’s daughter was born.)

Finally, consider the background in your photo as well as the lighting in which you’ll be taking the selfie. If the light is behind you, then your lovely face is going to appear in all shadows, hiding you from the viewer. And, isn’t the point of a selfie to show off your face?

I know it’s not something most people consider, but background can make or break a photo. Even the best photo of you standing in your bathroom facing the mirror still is only a photo of you standing in your bathroom. Another bit that just isn’t going to work for you.

No one wants to see your bathroom. Even you don’t want to see your bathroom.

Try finding a better place. Maybe one with good lighting.

There are more suggestions at the article site, including a plea to banish “duckface.” You can head on over and take a look. Maybe, if you can’t help yourself and you do take a selfie, you could send one along and I’ll run the best one we get.

Sound good to you dudes?

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